## Monday, September 27, 2021

### SPIDER RINGS AND BAT THINGS

Over the next few days I'm going to share activities that you can do with plastic spiders and bats. Spiders and bats are a good substitute for scary things this time of year. They are also cheap, plentiful, and perfect for hands-on activities. "PLAYFUL AND CHALLENGING" is a buzzword in early childhood, so here are some ways that these plastic rings meet standards and engage children.

1. Kids love little toys. You’ll easily capture their interest with bat and spider rings.
2. Instead of tapping a key, children will be using multiple senses.
3. These activities can be adapted to different skills and age levels.
4. Children can work with a partner or use these materials independently in a center.
5. You can integrate STEM with facts about spiders and bats and math activities. You can also use them as a springboard for art and writing.

On a more personal level, you have given me something to do and have entertained me for the past week! I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had trying to come up with ways to connect these plastic toys with learning activities that children will enjoy! Someone once remarked, “Dr. Jean, you take something simple and milk it for all it’s worth.” Well, I’m certainly “milking” these plastic toys for all they are worth. However, it’s a good reminder that you, too, can take seasonal objects (heart erasers), natural items (leaves), and other plentiful items and turn them into a learning opportunity!

Note! I took my scissors and snipped off the ring part to make them easier to manipulate. I also removed the skeleton rings because I thought some parents might object. (I just try to keep everybody happy!)

Sort
Ask children to sort the rings. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way?

Sets
Draw spider webs and label with numerals or number words. Children make appropriate sets.

*Use bat rings in spooky trees. Let children roll dice and make the amount.

Guess and Check
Put different amounts of rings in bags or cups. Write letters on the cups (A, B, C...). Children count and then record their answers.

Children can work out math problems with the spider rings.

Fill the Cup (I learned this from Carolyn.)
Two or more children can play this game. You’ll need cups, plastic toys, and dice. Children take turns rolling a die and then counting out that many objects and placing them in their cup. The first one to fill their cup is the winner. To extend the game, continue playing to see who can empty their cup first.

*Use two dice so the children can practice addition.

Estimate
Fill a plastic jar with plastic toys. Children estimate how many and then write it on a sheet of paper with their name. At the end of the day count the objects. Who guessed more? Less? Who was closest?

Patterns

Can children continue a pattern with the toy rings? Can they create an AB, or ABB pattern?

Position
Give each child a spider ring. Can you put it above your head? Can you put it beside you? Can you put it between your knees? Etc.

Bats in a Cave

Make a cave from a disposable bowl by turning it upside down and cutting an arch as shown. Display a certain number of bats. Put some in the cave and ask children, "How many do you see? How many do you think are in the cave?"